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Taliking Points: May 6 - 20, 2009

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly newsletter - news about U.S.-China relations and China-focused talks, conferences, performances, and screenings.
May 7, 2009

USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
May 6 - 20, 2009

Last week, Talking Points noted that Chinese authorities, chastened by the costs of their slow and far from transparent response to the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, were moving in a highly public way to respond to the A/H1N1 flu (swine flu). News photos showed the screening of passengers on a Aeromexico flight to Shanghai and authorities canceled flights to and from Mexico. By the end of the week, Mexican nationals visiting China were quarantined in a number of cities. While one Mexican citizen in Hong Kong was found to have the flu, the others were quarantined without regard to whether or not they exhibited any symptoms or had been in contact with infected individuals. On Saturday, a group of Canadian students arrived in the Northeastern city of Changchun to study Mandarin, but were pulled off the plane ahead of others and put into quarantine. Both the Mexican and Canadian authorities lodged protests.

"We are especially worried about China, where Mexican citizens showing no signs at all of being ill, have been isolated, under unacceptable conditions."
           Patricia Espinosa, Mexican foreign minister, May 2, 2009

"I think it's unfair that because we have been honest and transparent with the world some countries and places are taking repressive and discriminatory measures because of ignorance and disinformation.”
           Felipe Calderon, Mexican president, May 4, 2009

The Chinese government responded that the actions were legal, appropriate, and necessary. Authorities argued the quarantines were not discriminatory and that Chinese nationals who had been in China were also quarantined. Further, China had offered Mexico $5 million in aid to help in coping with the epidemic. Nonetheless, feelings were badly bruised. To further show its concern for how its nationals are treated abroad, Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala went yesterday morning to the Mexico City airport to welcome home 136 people flown back to Mexico City from China.

Mexican tourists have been going to China in increasing numbers. Almost 49,000 visited in 2009. While the flight cancelations and quarantine will dampen this, it’s unlikely that Mexican – Chinese economic ties will be significantly affected. There are already trade tensions between Mexico and China. Mexico imports more than ten times what it sells to China and the country has frequently charged Chinese firms with “dumping” goods below their production cost in Mexico. These issues came up during Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s February visit to Mexico.

You can learn more about China’s relations with Mexico and the rest of Latin America in the new issue of US-China Today, due out this week. The issue includes an interactive map detailing trade ties. Online gaming, hip hop, and the children of migrants are among the other topics explored in this issue. Look for it at


Almost a year has passed since a massive earthquake killed almost 90,000 in China’s Sichuan province. This evening, HBO offers a documentary on the quake and its aftermath. In “China’s Unnatural Disaster” filmmakers Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill let rural Chinese describe their experiences. US-China previously reported on a film by Pan Jianlian, a Chinese filmmaker, on media coverage of the tragedy, and of one American group’s aid efforts. We’ll review some of what’s been done to rebuild lives and communities in Sichuan in next week’s Talking Points.

Finally, please be sure to visit the U.S.-China Institute website at to watch the video of Elizabeth Economy’s remarkable overview of the environmental challenges produced by China’s remarkable rise. In addition to detailing the problems, she discusses the work of individuals, groups, and governments to address the crisis.

Thank you for passing Talking Points on to others. We always appreciate your comments. Please write to us at

Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute
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07/27/2009: 2009 Summer Residential Seminar at USC
USC, Davidson Conference Center
Los Angeles, CA 90089
For more information please visit:
An intensive nine-day equivalent of our "East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" professional development seminar for K-12 teachers employed outside of the greater Los Angeles area.

05/07/2009: Screening: Autumn
Sunset Gower Studios
1438 N. Gower St. , Hollywood, CA 90028
Time: 5:30PM - 6:55PM
The screening of Autumn as a part of USC Showcase of short films with a red carpet reception.

05/08/2009: Qing China's Perspectives on India before 1850: Some Approaches and Conclusions
UC Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
The Center for Chinese studies presents a talk by Matthew Mosca on the Qing Empires relations with British India.

05/11/2009: Ancient Chinese Checkpoints and How They Possibly Worked
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
UCLA Center for Chinese Studies presents a discussion by Enno Giele on the functionality of ancient checkpoints in China.
05/15/2009: Life Writing as Literary Relic: Image, Inscription, and Consecration in Tibetan Biography
UCLA 243 Royce Hall
Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Time: 3:00PM - 4:30PM
A CBS Colloquium Series Lecture by Andrew Quintman, PhD (Cotsen-Mellon Fellow, Princeton University).
05/18/2009: The Erosion of Paternalistic Democracy in Chinese Factories
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
UCLA Center for Chinese Studies presents a discussion by Joel Andreas on China’s workplaces, an area in which market reforms have undermined democratic institutions.
05/20/2009: China in Africa
Grand Ballroom, The National Press Club
529 14th Street NW 13th Floor , Washington, DC
Time: 9:00AM - 5:30PM
The Jamestown Foundation presents a conference on China's activities in Africa.

North America

05/08/2009: T'ang Studies: The Next Twenty-five Years
University at Albany, Albany, New York
Time: 8:00AM - 5:30PM
An International Conference to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the T’ang Studies Society.
05/08/2009: Insiders and Outsiders in Chinese History
Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies
Henry R. Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT
Cost: Free
Time: 1:30PM - 5:00PM
Yale University presents a conference in honor of Jonathan Spence.
05/09/2009: Conference on Uygur Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania
Rainey Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania Museum
Time: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
The conference will explore Uygur remains, especially in the context of Tang China and as they relate to material evidence of other nomadic peoples of East and Central Asia, particularly Turk and Kitan.
05/11/2009: Cross-Strait Relations One Year into the Ma Administration
Foreign Policy Research Institute
1528 Walnut Street Suite 610, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Cost: Free for Faculty, Students, and FPRI Members; $20 for everyone else.
Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm
The Foreign Policy Research Institute assembles a group of experts to discuss the development of relations between mainland China and Taiwan in the year since Ma Ying-jeou became president of the Republic of China.
05/14/2009: The United States and China: Still a "Fragile Relationship"?
Harry Harding Auditorium The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Room 213, Washington DC
Time: 5:00PM - 6:30PM
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies presents its 13th Annual Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture featuring Harry Harding on US-China relations.


02/12/2009 - 06/07/2009: Noble Tombs at Mawangdui: Art and Life in the Changsha Kingdom, Third Century BCE to First Century
China Institute Gallery
125 East 65th St., New York , NY
Cost: $7
An exhibit featuring treasures of the Marquis of the Changsha Kingdom and his family
04/11/2009 - 07/13/2009: Treasures through Six Generations: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Weng Collection
Boone Gallery, The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA
An exhibition of Chinese painting and calligraphy highlighting works spanning 900 years
11/03/2008 - 11/03/2009: Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Legacy
Bowers Museum
2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, California 92706
Bowers Museum presents a collection that portrays the evolution of Chinese technology, art and culture.
11/14/2008 - 11/14/2009: Chinese Art: A Seattle Perspective
 Seatle Asian Art Museum
1400 East Prospect Street , Volunteer Park , Seattle, WA 98112–3303
The Seattle Asian Art Museum presents an opportunity to see a collection with representative works from each dynastic period.
11/15/2008 - 11/15/2009: Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China
Bowers Museum
2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, California 92706
The Bowers Museum presents a collection of exquisite textiles and silver jewelry that highlights the beauty and wealth of the Miao peoples of southwest China.

02/12/2009 - 02/12/2010: Art of Adornment: Tribal Beauty
Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main, Santa Ana, CA
Cost: $5
An exhibit featuring body adornments from indigenous peoples around the world

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